Henry Schmitz Post 683 History
In the early part of 1920, two local businessmen, Bernard and Harry Rutter called a meeting of area veterans to determine interest in forming a Legion Post in St. Libory. The spirit and support was so great they elected Bernard Kramper as their leader and Henry Mueller as the Adjutant. They immediately began the process of applying for a charter, which was recevied on Septmeber 20, 1920. The namesake honor when to Henry Schmitz, as he was the first of three St. Liborian's (Willaim Behrman and Joseph Wessels being the others) to die in the WWI timeframe. Early membership included veterans from Venedy and Okawville. Meetings were held in Otten's Hall and later the basement of the grade school. Bernard Kramper served as Commander from 1920 to 1925 and again from 1930 to 1934. Theodore Surmeier as Commander from 1925 to 1930 and again from1937 to 1947. Joseph Mueth was the Commander from 1934 to 1937. These three veterans served as Commander a total of 27 years, and were very instrumental in building the membership of our Legion.
Construction on the current Legion Hall was started on May 15, 1954, with Commander Ralph Sandheinrich and Mayor Joseph Lueking, Sr. doing the ground breaking. On Sunday, December 26, 1954, the Legion Hall was completed and the first dance was held. A few nights later, a New Year's Eve dance was held, thus beginning a long history of hosting events. The first wedding dances were held on January 8, 1955, Otto Lickenbrock, and February 14, 1955 (Valentines Day), Cletus Middendorf, which also included a supper. The wedding supper and dance has been a stable of the Legion ever since.
A Women's Auxiliary of American Legion Post 683 was formed on 19,1938. The first officers were Bertha Surmeier, President, Mary Schneider, Secretary, and Cedilia Habrock, Treasurer, The Legion has every reason to be proud of the Auxiliary. Auxiliary members are always anxious and willing to co-operate in every Legion activity. Additionally, they prepare and serve food on site for weddings, anniversaries and other parties that require food. It should be noted that the meals are home cooked and are ledgendary for their consistency, taste and affordability.
A Sons of the Legion for American Legion Post 683 was formed during 1987. The membership of the Sons of the Legion currently outnumber the Legion members, and their members are very active in supporting the Legion activities, especially volunteering for bartending duty.
MEMORIAL DAY has always been an outstanding occasion in St. Libory community. We hold a Memorial Day service annually, and rotate the event between St. Libory and Okawville Legion Halls. In addition to memorial events, the goal of every Veteran to it's last man is to keep MEMORIAL DAY sacred to the memory of our war dead of all of the wars of the country; and all veteran's graves in the St. Libory and Lively Grove cemetaries are decorated with a flag on this National Holiday.
ARMISTICE DAY, now called VETERANS' DAY, originally marked the end of fighting in World War I. It is an important holiday on the calendar of Legionnaires everywhere and in the hearts of all Veterans.
American Legion Post 683 by itself and through volunteer Helpers' Fund donations financially sponsors or assists with many worthy community projects and programs as well as supporting both state and national Legion programs.
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